Scriptures

1 Kings 10

Introduction

‘When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the LORD, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed. She said to the king, ‘The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.’ And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.’ 1 Kings 10:1-10

The Queen Of Sheba Visits Solomon

Solomon’s fame is now beginning to spread, not only his fame but his relationship with the Lord. He was famous because of his great wealth and the wisdom he got from the Lord, 1 Kings 3:7-12.

His fame reached the ears of the Queen of Sheba, who was possibly from southern Arabia, Egypt or Ethiopia, 2 Chronicles 9:1-12 / Matthew 12:42.

She wanted to visit Solomon and see him and hear him for herself. After answering all of the queen’s questions, and seeing Solomon’s great wealth, she says that ‘not even half was told me in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard’.

In other words, she now knows that Solomon’s reputation wasn’t exaggerated and as a result she was overwhelmed.

Solomon never asked God for wealth or fame but because he only asked God for wisdom, God blessed him with wisdom, wealth and fame, and rightly so, God was given the credit for blessing Solomon with these, 1 Kings 3:10-13.

The queen was well aware that it was God who had given Solomon everything he has and so, she gives praise to God for everything He has done for Solomon, including making him king of Israel. She blessed Solomon and gives him gifts of gold, precious stones and many spices.

‘(Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the LORD and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.) King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.’ 1 Kings 10:11-13

As Solomon received gift from the Queen of Sheba, Hiram’s ships bring even more wealth to Solomon and so, Solomon gives the queen some gifts in return and everything she desires and asked for.

As Solomon was in full control of all the major trade routes, it’s possible that the queen wanted some kind of trade route privileges in order to trade with the surrounding nations.

Solomon’s Splendour

‘The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the territories. King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom.’ 1 Kings 10:14-20

It appears that Solomon’s taxation brought him even more gold, and wealth, and make no mistake about it, this is a huge sum of money, 2 Chronicles 1:14-17 / 2 Chronicles 9:13-28.

The gold shields the body guards used came in two sizes, 1 Kings 14:27-28 / 2 Chronicles 12:10, the larger ones which were used for full body protection cost 600 shekels of gold and the smaller ones, which were used for close-up combat, cost three minas of gold.

Solomon places them in the ‘Palace of the Forest of Lebanon,’ which is possibly a reference to the temple, 1 Kings 5:6-8. Because Solomon had a great throne made which was covered in ivory, this tells us that he was trading with those in Africa who were slaughtering elephants for their ivory tusks.

Notice also that this great throne he made for himself was made of gold and ivory but it was also decorated with lions figures. The images of the lions that decorated Solomon’s throne were made in violation of God’s commands, Exodus 20:4.

‘All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days. The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons. King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules. Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.’ 1 Kings 10:21-29

Solomon’s wealth is seen in these verses, and it appears that because there was so much gold, the price of silver must have been very cheap and of little value. Although silver was worth very little at this time, it was still being used widely, especially in Jerusalem.

The king had a fleet of ‘trading ships’, but some translations use the words ‘ships of Tarshish’, the actual Hebrew word for Tarshish, means refinery. This means that Tarshish isn’t the location but the process of refining metals, 1 Kings 9:26-28. In other words, these trading ships carried refined metals, which are precious metals.

As Solomon’s reputation for wisdom grows throughout the land, so does his wealth. Solomon not only acquired a lot of gold but he also acquired a great number of horses and chariots, 1 Kings 4:16 / 1 Kings 9:19.

Through the king’s traders, the horses were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria. It appears that once again that Solomon forgot about God and His commandments, because this accumulation of gold, horses and chariots was a complete violation of God’s commands, Deuteronomy 17:16-17.

Solomon had become so wealthy; he had more wealth that any other king who was living at the time.

Go To 1 Kings 11

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"So Paul stayed for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God."

Acts 18:11

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